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Mailbag: Is Oklahoma really in contention for the 2012 national championship?

by Jason Kersey Published: October 11, 2012
Quarterback Landry Jones and the OU offense has scored touchdowns on its first drive in each of the last two games. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
Quarterback Landry Jones and the OU offense has scored touchdowns on its first drive in each of the last two games. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
NORMAN — We’re two days from the Red River Rivalry and, naturally, Sooner fans are fired up.

I can understand it; I’m pretty excited, too. Not because I have any rooting interest in the game, but because it’s weeks and games like these that make my job so much fun.

Part of that is interacting with readers. With that said, I present my weekly mailbag blog post.

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Thomas is one of my who thinks I jumped the gun in my Monday story, where I wrote that OU can play its way back into the national-title discussion with a win Saturday in the Cotton Bowl.

First of all let me say the Oklahoman has a really great sports department.  Coverage of all sports at all levels in this part of the country is good.

I know the Sooners are the main focus and that is perfectly normal.  Now, I think it is a little premature for you to put OU back in the national title hunt.  They still have to play the #15, #5, and #7 teams in the AP poll.  Plus I think you are overlooking the fact that the top 4 in the AP poll (Alabama, Oregon, South Carolina, and Florida) will have much more impact on the national title hunt.  OU would have to run the table and hope that the teams above them suffer major collapses.  This is just not likely, especially among the top 4.

I say this with greatest respect for the legendary Oklahoma football program.

Thomas: I appreciate the kind words. I wasn’t saying that I think OU is definitely going to win the title, or even get to the title game. My point is just that the Sooners have a clear opportunity to get themselves back in the conversation. If they win out — a big, big if — and the teams in front of them lose, which many of them will just because they’ll play each other, it’s easy to see Oklahoma back in the top 5. Remember, South Carolina and Florida will have to play each other, and then the SEC East winner will probably have to play Alabama. The Crimson Tide still has LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn — yes, Auburn is terrible, but it’s a rivalry game where anything can happen.

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Charles felt the same way.

When my wife glanced at the paper this morning, she asked how OU could be back in the national championship hunt? I told her, the sports writer is delusional!  What other explanation could there be?  I thought they laid this to rest two weeks ago.

Charles: Delusional? Come on, now. I’d kindly suggest that you and your wife please re-read the article, and I’m sure you’ll see that I never, not one time, said OU is back in the national-title hunt. I said the Sooners can play their way back into the discussion. There’s a big difference.

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Bernie from Tulsa wrote to compliment my story on OU legend Steve Davis’ letter to quarterback Landry Jones, and to defend himself and many others in the stands when Davis lost his only game as the Sooners’ starting QB back in 1975.

Great article Jason.  I was at that Kansas game that OU lost to the Nolan Cromwell led Jayhawks.  I sure didn’t boo.  It was mostly the student section, as you can imagine.

Bernie: Thanks for the kind note. I can’t imagine why anyone at all would boo a team like that one. It reminds me of the story of the 1968 Green Bay Packers and their home finale, when they lost 16-3 to the Baltimore Colts. After the loss, the Pack was ensured its first losing season in a decade. Vince Lombardi was gone, and it was pretty clear that Green Bay’s amazing run of success was over. But the crowd gave the team a standing ovation after the Colts game ended, almost as if they knew the dynasty was over and were expressing their gratitude for it. I love that story because I’m a Packers fan, but also because it’s just a classy way for fans to treat a team that treated them so well.

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Rhonda is interested to hear how Justin Brown feels about the OU-Texas game after he plays in it.

I’ve been wondering what Justin Brown thought going into Saturday’s Rivalry Game.  Glad to get a little glimpse.  I’d be really interested to see what they think about the Rivalry game afterwards and to hear them compare this game to some of the rivalries where they came from.  I don’t know of another game that has a state fair surrounding it.  For this you throw out the usual patterns, etc.  This is OU Texas.  It has a life of its own.  There is nothing else like it in college football.  I can say that after watching 55 of the rivalry games.  Justin Brown may be a senior, but he will probably be in Oh my gosh territory when the Sooners break through the tunnel at the Cotton Bowl, just as some of the freshmen will be.  I don’t think you have to have pads on to understand the intensity of the moment and what’s at stake. (Oh let’s see, bragging rights and Texas continuing to be the bottom half of Oklahoma!)  Have to crow a little bit.  I am a Sooner Fan, Sooner born, Sooner bred, etc.  My prayer is no injuries on both sides.

Rhonda: I don’t think any Penn State rivalry is anything like the OU-Texas game. Justin Brown said as much, when he said Ohio State was probably the Nittany Lions’ biggest rival, but later acknowledged that the Buckeyes consider Michigan their most hated rival. This will be his first experience in a rivalry game like this, so I’m sure the whole experience will be surprising, no matter how much people tell him about it.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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